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Don’t Avoid your Doctor and Risk your Own Health

doctors are working still

With the current stay at home and social distancing orders, our hyper-vigilant awareness around COVID-19 may have some of us avoiding our own medical care; either out of fear of catching the virus or in an effort to avoid being a burden to the system.

But health officials want you to know that you still need to take care of your new or ongoing health issues. This includes necessary emergency room visits, doctor visits, and prescription refills.

That may or may not sound surprising to you. But consider this: NBC News reported this week that during an online video consultation with a patient, Denver-based emergency medical physician, Dr. Comilla Sasson, advised her patient that she was showing signs of a heart attack and needed to go to the hospital immediately. The patient's answer? “I’d rather die than risk getting coronavirus right now.”

It’s a surprising response.

So in the midst of a pandemic, we must recognize that emergencies still happen and existing healthcare concerns don’t go away. So we must be self aware and make time for our health needs no matter the circumstance.

Dr. Harlan Krumholz, professor of medicine at Yale and director of the Yale New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes, Research and Evaluation, tells the NYTimes that, “The public needs to know that hospitals are not only equipped to care for people with COVID-19, but also for those who have other life-threatening health problems.”

The doctor goes on to say that masks and protective gear for healthcare workers and patients go a long way to ensure safety and that the pandemic death toll could be much worse if patients avoid treatment for health conditions.

What’s the takeaway from all this? Call your doctor, call your pharmacist. Get the medical care and the medications you need. Your doctor may offer tele-chat or video conference to determine next steps with your health concerns. Your pharmacist can arrange for medications and refills picked up or delivered.

And of course, call 9-1-1 for all life-threatening health concerns.

We all need to know that this pandemic response does not mean that our health emergencies, our new health issues or our ongoing health concerns can be put on the back burner.

Please, bring them forward and take care of yourself properly—your doctor, and you, will thank you.